Spinning the Slick

by Steve on May 4, 2010

As we have watched the Gulf oil spill grow each day, much of the media coverage has concentrated on mobilizing clean-up efforts. Until the well can be contained, clean-up will be akin to sandbagging an already flooded river.

Never fear, Obama’s here. The President traveled to Louisiana on Sunday to view the spill and pledge government support. He’s obviously mindful of the bashing his predecessor took over Katrina in the same region now threatened by the oil.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said any comparison between the ruptured BP oil well and Katrina was “a total mischaracterization” and that the government had taken an “all hands on deck” approach from the beginning. While administration officials said they were on top of the accident from the first day, a declaration of national significance — opening the way for greater government involvement — was not made for nine days.

This rhetoric sounds strangely familiar. In reality the Federal can do little to stop the flow of oil – the technology to get the job done is in the hands of the industry that created this mess to begin with but the administration must appear to be acting doing something significant.

The president vowed that his administration, while doing all it could to mitigate the disaster, would require well owner BP America to bear all costs. “Your government will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this crisis,” he said.

You’re a little short on specifics, boss.

No real surprise. Actually, such posturing is to be expected by modern politicians. He must appear to have his finger on the pulse of a disaster that will undoubtedly affect all of us in ways we can’t even anticipate for years to come. Otherwise this mess will become his legacy.

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